Title: The Ground Quakes and Trembles Author: devilinthedetails Characters: Qui-Gon Juin; Dooku; Tahl (Legends Jedi Apprentice character); Clee Rhara (Legends Jedi Apprentice and Jedi Quest character); Yoda; OC's. Genre: General; Action; Adventure; Friendship; Drama. Timeline: Many years before TPM when Qui-Gon is Dooku's Padawan. Written more in the Legends continuity with characters from the Jedi Apprentice books. Summary: Jedi Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn's diary keeps his feet firmly planted even when the ground quakes and trembles beneath his boots both literally and figuratively because isn't adolescence fun? Author's Note: Written for the Half-Marathon DDC 2021 Challenge. Dear Diary, You might be wondering who I am. At least, you’d be wondering that if you were sentient, and for the sake of my sanity, I’m going to pretend that you are sentient and treat you as such. So, as I say, you might be wondering who I am. Fear not, I shall enlighten you. I am Jedi Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn, but you can just call me Qui-Gon. Everyone else does. Except the Masters when they are angry at me for breaking another Jedi rule I didn’t realize was so sacrosanct until I violated it (whoops), but you aren’t so uptight as all that and won’t get vexed at me over trivialities, so you can just call me Qui-Gon as I said. I am also, according to my personal Jedi Master Dooku, entirely too clingy--too emotionally dependent on his attention, approval, and affection. I know because he told me that in blunt fashion, not mincing his words for my benefit at all as we stood on one of the many Temple balconies at night, staring out at the stars that were dimmed in comparison with the bright lights of advertisements for products nobody actually wanted and stratosphere-piercing skytowers and superskytowers. “Tell me, Qui-Gon, are you a Jedi Padawan or a Kowakian monkey-lizard?” Dooku asked without warning, arching an eyebrow at me. “A Jedi Padawan, of course, Master,” I replied, nonplussed. Jedi riddles are always so baffling and bizarre. If I had a credit for every strange Jedi aphorism I heard growing up in the Temple, I’d be the richest man on Coruscant, and that’s saying something, since Coruscant is home to many of the richest people in the galaxy. Eighty of the one hundred wealthiest trillionaires according to the rankings of most economic publications in fact but that is mere trivia for the Jedi Archivists. “Then why do you cling to me so?” My master’s words hurt like a slap on the face. A rejection. A proclamation that I wasn’t wanted or needed in any way by the man I tried so hard to serve and please. “Because you’re my Master.” I tried and probably failed to speak with dignity through a tightening throat. At least I managed not to cry. I could be proud of myself for that. “Exactly.” Master Dooku’s lips were thin, and every syllable cut like a vibro-razor’s edge. “I’m your Master and you’re my Padawan. My role is to instruct you, not to provide you with constant attention, approval, and affection. I’m to be your teacher, not your parent or your companion--and certainly not your friend.” I wondered if Master Dooku even had any friends. He never seemed to share a special bond with any of the Jedi he sparred with in the dojos or researched with in the Jedi Archives. Those Jedi were an ever-shifting, inconstant cast of characters in the drama that was Master Dooku’s life, and he appeared to only see them as means to the end of increasing his knowledge or skill as a Jedi. During meals, he preferred to dine alone when other Jedi might have taken the opportunity to sit with friends. It was on the tip of my tongue to ask if Master Dooku did have friends that I had never seen or met, but I bit the question back before it could escape from my lips and be labeled as impertinent by my very austere and severe Master. Instead, I said in a dull, flat, toneless voice the robotic reply I knew he wanted from me, the response devoid of any emotion: “Yes, Master. I’ll try to be less dependent on your attention, approval, and affection.” It felt degrading to say such things about myself, but then we Jedi are called to be humble, aren’t we? “Good. You must understand that I only point such a thing out for your own good.” Master Dooku reached out to clasp my shoulder, and I thought that was the worst part of being his Padawan. He would say something cold and withering--something that left my soul crushed inside me--and then follow it up with some gesture of affection or declaration that his words were only spoken for my benefit. It was so confusing and the mixed messages overwhelmed me. “It is unwise for any Jedi---for anyone, in fact--to be too dependent on the approval, affection, or attention of any other sentient in the galaxy. We are all alone in the galaxy and must conduct ourselves as independent beings or we will be destroyed by those on whom we make ourselves dependent. That is the teaching and caution behind the Jedi principle of non-attachment. Meditate on what this truly means, understand it, and free yourself from any tethering attachments that could be your downfall.” Master Dooku didn’t require a response to this, and I didn’t give one, because I knew in the hidden corners of my heart where he couldn’t reach that I would never meditate on such a matter. I could never really believe in my blood and my bones that our attachments would destroy us rather than support and sustain us. The Force had always whispered otherwise to me since I was a youngling in the creche. There had never been a time that the Force hadn’t told me on a deep, spiritual level that it was our connections with others that made and transformed us into our best selves. I knew Master Dooku didn’t believe this--I knew most Jedi didn’t, for that matter--but I did and that was enough to give me strength on that balcony even if a gnawing worm of doubt inside me did ask myself if other Masters were so rejecting of any bond with their apprentices. If other Masters made their Padawans feel so unwanted and unneeded. I’d have to ask my friends Tahl and Clee Rhara who were both Padawans in their own right now, and wouldn’t that be a fun and not at all awkward conversation?